May 2019 Desktop Wallpaper

For the desktop, click on the image above to view the large size image.

For these desktop wallpapers, what I’ve realized is that I design for what I am dreaming about. So although most of the trees around me are still bare ( we had snow yesterday!) I’m looking forward to being immersed in lush canopies of green. And maybe where you are those already exist, or maybe you are further north than I and are still longing for the first blooms of spring. Either way my hope is that your May is rich with fresh air and new growth. Thanks for continuing to support my family and my artwork. Much love always,

Betony

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the image you want. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen or both. I make a couple different ones so that you can use what works best for your device.

iphone wallpapers:

April 2019 Desktop Wallpaper

We have slowly begun to hear bird songs in the morning here. I’m sure we will get another big snow before winter makes her exit, but those bird songs in the early morning light bring me such joy. This wallpaper was created using lots of little bits and pieces of collected elements. I hope you enjoy this more subtle April desktop.
Much Love, Betony

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the image you want. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen or both. I make a couple different ones so that you can use what works best for your device.

iphone wallpapers:

March 2019 Desktop Wallpaper

It snowed another three inches in Colorado today, but I have been getting that gardening itch in my fingers. I am so ready for those first glimpses of green! This month’s wallpaper is inspired by/features antique garden plans from France. I’m hoping to plan out my own tiny garden soon. Happy March!

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the image you want. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen or both. I make a couple different ones so that you can use what works best for your device.

iphone wallpapers:

A Little Valentine Love

I designed this Valentine printable yesterday just for fun. It was inspired by the Pennsylvania German Fraktur illustrations from the Pennsylvania Free Library (such an amazing resource!). Feel free to print it out and give it to someone you love.

For personal use only please 🙂

February 2019 Desktop Wallpaper

Some days you need a sunrise. Or sunset? You decide.

And warm lighted windows welcoming you home from the cold.

Love you friends! Enjoy!

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

 

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the image you want. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen or both. I make a couple different ones so that you can use what works best for your device.

iphone wallpapers:

 

January 2019 Free Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

Happy New Year!! Can you believe it is 2019 already!? Thanks for sticking with me, friends. Seeing these desktops on your screens is what keeps me going 🙂 By the way I am planning on keeping the format of these post about the same this year, but please tell me if you have any requests or changes! I make them and then send them off into the void, so I would love your feedback.

This desktop wallpaper is a little tribute to 2018 while at the same time celebrating fresh starts and new beginnings. There is one element from each of my calendar pages from 2018 hidden in the black and white images to the left all leading into a fresh blank canvas. Can you find all 12?! Enjoy!!

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the image you want. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen or both. I make a couple different ones so that you can use what works best for your device.

iphone wallpapers:

December 2018 Desktop Wallpaper

Happy December friends! Here is delicate and bright wallpaper for your month.

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the image you want. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen or both. I make a couple different ones so that you can use what works best for your device.

iphone wallpapers:

 

November 2018 Desktop Wallpaper

Happy November beautiful friends! Here is a poem the girls and I have been working on memorizing. Simple and yet lovely.

The stripped and shapely
Maple grieves
The ghosts of her
Departed leaves.

The ground is hard,
As hard as stone.
The year is old,
The birds are flown.

And yet the world,
In its distress,
Displays a certain
Loveliness—

By John Updike

The desktop is inspired by the shifting palette of the landscape. The paint color chips come from an antique book about the science of color mixing. I love the subtle variation in hue. Enjoy!

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the image you want. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen or both.

iphone wallpapers:

Top 5 Favorite Things to Share with Creatives

As I turn 40 this month I’m writing a few reflective posts. It’s always good to take step back and ask, “What have I been learning and experiencing these last few years… or better yet, decades?”

You can read the post about having two halves of life and comparing their bucket-lists here
You can read the post called “What’s stopping you from being you” here

 

Betony and I often find ourselves in incredible conversations with awesome, creative people. We talk about the how-to’s and inspiring maxims and stories we find.
These seem to be Betony and I’s top 5; the wisdom we’ve come into over the years we keep returning to. What would you add to the list? 

1. All Projects Have 3 Parts

Let’s stop viewing art through a romantic lens for a moment and get down to the flesh and bones.

A project has three distinctive phases:
creating/ producing/ sharing

We write the songs or dream up the idea or finish the screen play. That’s the creating part. But then we have to get out the microphones, gather the teams, rent the rehearsal space and produce what’s been dreamed. We’ve got to give life our ideas. Producing is such a hard phase!

And most creatives stop there. I know I have before. Your dream has come alive and can be seen or heard or experienced…

but who’s going to invite your friends and fans to the glorious thing you’ve made?!

Marketing is difficult but for the most part no one is going to do it for us. We have to find natural and loving ways to share our work with those who we know will love experiencing it!

2. The Journey of the Project is as Important as the End Product

Early in my career I made an album that ended, I believe, 4 friendships. I was close to each of these musicians and invited them to play on this new project, but after so many rehearsals and events and lack of communication, I burned them out. They didn’t want to work with me after that.

The final project turned out great; everyone played beautifully and it sounded wonderful. But it’s my least favorite album of mine. I actually rarely open and listen to it because it relives, for me, such a failure of leadership and lack of understanding.

There’s a love of journey and joy in making that needs to resonate in the creation of a thing. Climbing the mountain can be tough and challenging, but a great time too. That’s why we do it. It shouldn’t be a miserable experience that turns people against each other or creates bitterness.

I’ve tried to take this to heart. A few years ago Betony and I finished a project called Becoming. When musicians came over to record in the evenings we would often feed them and spend time with them, just hanging out. Then when the album was done we had everyone involved over for a foodie’s paradise experience, an award giving ceremony (think Throne Room scene from Star Wars and old war medals), and a Becoming listening party. I look back on the creation of that album with warm memories of special times. The journey was wondrous. 

3. Make Lots of Work

There’s a wonderful passage from the book Art & Fear below and Betony and I reference this whenever we start to romanticize our current project too much. It goes like this:

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”.

Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

I talk with young music writers that have been working on the same 5 songs for 3 years and my first challenge to them is: You have 20 minutes. Go write a new song. And then after that we’re going to do that exercise again and again. It’s shocking what people start to make when they get unstuck from what they’re trying to perfect.

We learn by doing or make the road by walking. In the arts it’s no different. 

4. The Most Personal is Often the Most Universal

My friend and artist Wes Sam-Bruce was where I first heard this idea: the most personal is often the most universal. I was still surprised when it came true for me.

I was getting ready to release an album called Frailty and was a little worried with how personal the themes were. My first daughter had been born and all of a sudden I was faced with my own morality. It sank in that one day I will leave her, my wife and family, leave all this I love, and walk through that passage we will all walk; death. So the album was a collection of my reflections in that season; facing my own frailty with bitter-sweet sentiment and outrageous hope for the New to come.

As I shared the album from this place of uncertainty and vulnerability(on social media, email, and beyond) I was surprised by many responses that came my way. Lots of parents had experienced similar feelings and struggles. Lots of people in general wanted to talk to me about these themes charged throughout the songs. 

When I was willing to write from the personal places of my story
it struck a chord in the story of those I loved as well.

5. Just love them

There are two things I do before going on stage. And this is whether I’m leading worship at a church or performing at a concert or teaching or whatever.

Two things.

And they are a bit embarrassing to disclose. (At least the first one is.)

The first I learned from a TED Talk.

I look into the mirror of the nearest bathroom I can find (a place of privacy). I look into my reflection and give a big smile and I square my shoulders in a sort of power-pose. The TED Talk explained that doing this physical act of showing yourself to be strong actually helps our brains believe we really are. The study involved people doing these power-poses in the mirror before job interviews and they reported an increase in confidence. 

I’ve done it for years. Even more than confidence, I’d say it helps me focus on being present and energetic and fully ready to be a good leader.

The next thing I do I consider the most important.

I look in the mirror and I say, Just love them.

The power-pose was from a TED Talk but this one is from some article my wife found. It was by a motivational speaker who traveled and spoke all the time. He made sure it wasn’t about his performance or some results oriented marker. Just love them. That was his main goal entering the room.

And so I find myself at times wondering,
will I do a good enough job?
what if my voice doesn’t hit those high notes?
what if they find my songs boring?
what if I’m not cool enough or say something stupid?
what if no one shows or no one buys any CDs or what if…?

Just love them

I’ve found that if I orient myself around that, everything else will be secondary and I will have achieved what I was supposed to and I can let go of the outcome.

 

There’s my top 5 pieces of wisdom I’ve returned to over the years in my creative field. I hope you found it helpful and/or interesting.
I would LOVE if you wanted to add to the list below in the comments. What’s an anecdote or concept you’ve found helpful?

What’s Stopping You from Being You?

As I turn 40 this month I’m writing a few reflective posts. It’s always good to take step back and ask, “What have I been learning and experiencing these last few years… or better yet, decades?”

Here’s the post on the two halves of life where I compare bucket-lists, 7th grade’s and today’s.
And here’s our Top 5 Helpful Things for Creative People!


It was ten years ago and Betony was pregnant with our first child. We were having dinner with some friends who are a bit older than us; people whose wisdom in the music profession I trust.

After dinner we were talking about dreams and songwriting and insecurities.
My friend turned to me and gave me something I’d been looking for a long time: permission.

He told me it was time to take my music career out of the closet and give it some sunshine…
let it breathe. He told me I could do it and essentially to stop wishing it and go be it.

Isn’t it strange how just a bit of encouragement from a trusted source can be all we need?

Before this moment I had played in bands and led worship music and produced demo albums with incredible musicians. But I’d never taken any of it as seriously as I’d liked. When we played a show I rarely invited anyone. When we made an album I wouldn’t invest very much money or even pay to get it mastered. I had this major fear and hinderance in my mind. It’s one I still will wrestle with on bad days. It goes like this:

If I don’t make enough money doing this then I’m not successful.
If this doesn’t lead to a tipping point of notoriety that leads to sustainability then I’m not successful. If I don’t create enough income to arrive at the American dream of a sweet house and some cars, then I’m not successful.
If I can’t make a living doing this, isn’t it just a glorified hobby?

And around and around my mind goes
until I feel embarrassed calling myself a musician. 

We all have a major hangup, don’t we? That main roadblock that’s in our way that we just keep struggling with.
Mine seems to be this definition of success. What’s yours? 


My hangups are still present, but after this eye opening conversation 10 years ago something in me changed. I had a big shift in perspective. 

I probably wasn’t ever going to be a singer-songwriter as a singular career. But that was ok.
I was going to keep being an intentional singer-songwriter because…
when it came down to it, I had been compelled to since I was young.

I had written songs and longed to share them since 2nd grade.

I had a fire in my bones, as a prophet once put it, and I had to create and share.

That sentence reads melodramatic, but I think most creatives know what I’m talking about…
the compulsion to make something meaningful and share it with the people we love;
to connect in deep ways where what’s being sung and experienced becomes a conversation of “me too”;
to make something beautiful that speaks in and over and through the human condition. 


So that year, a decade ago, after that important conversation, I started taking creating seriously. I had another job as a worship leader but I also started dedicating time to songwriting, to having a website, a Facebook page, to setting up a series of house concerts. I put together my first ever tour with the goal to break even (I made $500 and was so thrilled).

I had just turned 30.
And I’ve kept this up the last 10 years.

When people ask what I do for a living I tell them musician
and it’s usually with a great deal of pride.
That title is a juggling of a whole lot of “main jobs” and “side hustles”. I think the most important thing the intentionality over these years has done… it has addressed the compulsion to make and given me space to create.

To put it maybe a better way, it’s helped me be the person I’ve needed to be; the person I’ve felt called to be.

I’ve made work I’m proud of. I’ve had people respond and let me know a song or project or experience meant a great deal to them.
And that truly has felt like the answer to the calling.
And it’s still not been my main source of income.
But it’s not a hobby.
It’s an identity. 

I’m so thankful, grateful that someone came along to give me permission to do this.
I needed the affirmation and encouragement
that even though creating this art is not my sole income, it’s my soul income.
That has personally been my largest hurdle to overcome in being an artist.


So now I say this quite seriously
to those of you with the fire in your bones to make and create and connect,
whatever your hangups are:

You can do this.
You feel deep inside you’re called to it and you HAVE to make.
Do what you need to do.
Be responsible. Live economically. Make it work.
It’s worth it.
Keep on your side hustles and passion projects
and add beauty to this world starved for meaning.
It makes a better us when you are fully you.
Thank you for being bold. It’s we who benefit.